Sunday, April 22, 2007

American Idol/Top 7: I'm A Little Bit Country

Martina McBride is on hand this week to guide the Idols. My knowledge of country music is limited at best, evidenced by the fact that I thought Martina McBride was a classical singer in the same vein as Sarah Brightman or Josh Groban. Little did I know that she was this mega country star who had about as much going on in her head as a carrot.

Phil Stacey kicked things off singing "Where The Blacktop Ends" by Keith Urban, my favorite country music artist (see my Live 8 Review). I have to join Randy in the "Who the hell knew?" clamor and say that I was pretty impressed. Phil sounded great and didn't creep me out like he usually does. But then after he finished, he went on and on about how Country is his music, and he was really in his element. Well, I thought this was a load of crap. If that were really the case, how come Phil has made no hint of this in the first 10 weeks?

Jordin came out next to sing a Martina McBride song ("Broken Wing"). Martina went off and told us that it's hard for someone to sing a song in front of the artist who performed it. Well after Jordin's performance, I think it's Martina who should be scared. Jordin was great. She didn't really sing it Country and could have used a mic stand, but she was my best performance of the night.

With a couple of exceptions, it all went downhill from there. Sanjaya sauntered out to talk-sing his way again through another song. The whole performance garnered cringes from even the background singers, one of whom was sporting a Gap RED tshirt that I have too! I'm lame enough to get excited about that.

Lakisha showed perhaps a lack of versatility with her performance of "Jesus Take The Wheel", which is a really dumb song anyway. Last year, Mandisa bombed on Country night (although I didn't think Mandisa was that bad), providing the latest evidence that "Big Black Girls should not sing Country." While singing the Carrie Underwood hit, Lakisha sounded shrill and probably broke every glass in the building. Too bad for her.

I would have thought that Chris Richardson's voice would have been well suited to Country, but he sounded whiny and teeny. Then in an awkward and rather pathetic attempt to parry Simon's criticism, he informed him and the rest of us that "Nasal is a style." I have two things to ask Chris R. now, do you mean you did this on purpose that night and the fact that you have sung this way every single other freaking week was not intentional? Second, listening to a cat screeching while being smacked against a wall is a style too. Doesn't mean I want to listen to it. Chris R. lost a lot of points with me that night.

Melinda brought up the score by singing with some major honky-tonk like a proud black woman in some funky church. Who knew she could do country too?

Finally, Blake arrived on the stage and sang a song that I never knew was Country since Bono, the Corrs and Tyler Hilton have all covered this song. Oh well. That was pretty smart of Blake. Too bad he sounded completely weak and off-key. And he also had this weird gaze into the camera--like he was looking into the camera, but not really looking; almost as if eyes were focused on some other point behind the camera. It was kind of bizarre.

My votes:

Best Performance: Jordin Sparks. Simon told her he can finally see her winning the whole thing. I agree.

Worst Performance: Sanjaya. Who else?

Most Improved. Melinda Doolittle. Melinda had really been boring me because her performances were almost too perfect, and she also sang songs that grandparents would like. Finally she pushed the buttons for more sass this week.

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